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Death by Genre Savviness
aka: Death By Genre Savvy

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Horror movies frequently have Genre Savvy characters. Sometimes the black guy takes the role, sometimes the nerd. Regardless, they're nearly always blind to the most relevant death trope: the Genre Savvy character always dies.

Extra irony points if the character gets dispatched through some death trope immediately after talking about it — or better yet in the midst of talking about it. In the rare event that they're actually Genre Savvy enough to realize that their knowledge places them in danger... well, let's not consider that.

This can become irritating or implausible, especially if it comes across as just a cheap shot to prove how "unstoppable" the killer is supposed to be. Compare Death by Pragmatism, where simply being sensible gets you killed, and The World's Expert on Getting Killed, where the guy who has in-depth knowledge on the nature of the threat and how to effectively fight it off manages to get killed by it anyways. See also Wrong Genre Savvy.


As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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  • In The Eagles Of Rome, the Roman legions in Germania are getting slowly and steadily dilapidated by the rebelling locals before the great battle of Teutoburg Forest. Legatus Vala understands that his troops are doomed and tries to flee on horseback through the woods. In doing so, he isolates himself and is killed by the Germans offscreen.

  • In the play and movie Arsenic and Old Lace, Mortimer is a theater critic with a maniacal, murderous brother and two aunts who like to poison elderly guests. The brother's henchman tries to warn Mortimer that his brother wants to kill him, but Mortimer ignores him. The henchman wails, "Tell me, don't those plays you see all the time teach you anything? At least people in plays act like they've got sense!" Mortimer, laughing at the notion that people act intelligently in plays, proceeds to describe a really bad play with a character who "knows he's in a house with murderers — he ought to know he's in danger. He's even been warned to get out of the house, and does he go? No, he stays there." He describes how the character sits down with his back to the murderer as the killer cuts down the curtain cord he's going to use to tie him up with. This gives the evil brother lurking in the background the idea to cut down the curtain cords and use them to tie him up with it. Just when Mortimer has reached the climax of his tirade against unimaginative playwrights who make a supposedly intelligent guy act oblivious and just keep sitting where he is, waiting to be Bound and Gagged, his brother drops the curtain cord over his shoulders, and the henchman gags him with a handkerchief, commenting, "You were right about that fellow — he wasn't very bright."

  • This Irregular Webcomic! strip, parodying Dr. No.
  • This The Non-Adventures of Wonderella strip.
  • In the Sluggy Freelance slasher pastiche "KITTEN," two Red Shirts, Randy and Cindy (a black guy and a slut, respectively), are in a car together, casually discussing how they're likely to die. Randy even mentions that he'll probably go out with some lame pun. Sure enough, Randy gets decapitated in that very comic (after being told to "quit while you're ahead"). And Cindy dies in the next strip by being cut in half, while one of the other characters comments "I always wanted to see Cindy topless."

Alternative Title(s): Death By Genre Savvy